Tuesday, December 04, 2007

30 Second Spots - The Medallion

Monday night, December 3, 2007, was the first Monday Evening Concert of the season. The program consisted of a piece from the wrong end of Igor Stravinsky's career, another European composer I'd never heard of and yet a third European composer I'd prefer never to hear again. Here's the program listing.

One of the pieces is described as
a radical, searing journey exploring man’s primitive connection with God.
which is the sort of presumption we seem to expect from our most honored composers. We must want them to deal with lofty subject matter in their music. Maybe we assume that theology somehow gives music a purpose. Or maybe composing music gives insight into the unknowable. I've always felt there are many similarities between music concerts and church services.

Stanford University Storm Drain Cover (c) David Ocker
Rather than confront my dislike and distrust of such posturing I decided to spend the time of the concert writing a little of my own music. So I hiked up to Starbucks just before 8 and returned just before 10 carrying 30 seconds of brand new music.

Listen here.

Copyright (c) December 3, 2007 David Ocker - exactly 30 seconds.

I couldn't think of a title. Nor could I find a found title from any overheard conversation. So I asked one of the baristas to pick a title without listening to the music. It happens that the person I asked, Lindsay Kraft, is the granddaughter of composer William Kraft (who had conducted the Stravinsky on the very concert I skipped.) I think Lindsay chose well.

There's nothing deep about The Medallion - it's just a small obscure view of where my head was at musically between 8 and 10 p.m. on Monday December 3, 2007. An abstraction of obscurity.

Enjoy it the way you would biting into a hot chili pepper or seeing a beam of bright sunlight on a dead flower or a brief hacking cough you can't control or feeling a cold unexpected burst of wind when you're not wearing a coat. In other words, a short moment of discomfort. Those are probably the best moments to reflect on your own primitive connections to God -- assuming she even exists of course.

Stanford University Storm Drain Cover Design Done in Stone (c) David Ocker
The pictures are from my wanderings around the Stanford University main quad last Friday. First I was struck by the ornate storm drain cover. Then I noticed that particular design was used repeatedly. It is sort of medallion like.

Medallion Tags: . . . . . .


Daniel Wolf said...

David --

I'm afraid you've completely lost me with this post. You've implicitly criticized music that not only you haven't heard but that you've now gone out of your way not to hear, and along the way used "European" as an epithet and put another composer down just because you haven't heard of him. Can it simply be that somewhere along the line you lost your faith and/or interest in new music? (It happens, so what?) But instead of putting your energy into making, studying, or promoting the music that you do like, you're stuck in the rut of putting down the music you no longer like.

There are too many forces out there there trying to strike down the music that other people happen to like to make, and not enough forces out there simply putting music they cherish out there without acting as if music were a zero-sum game. Music ain't a zero sum game, and playing it that way is needlessly mean-spirited.

David Ocker said...

Glad you liked my piece Daniel. I've answered you (somewhat) in the next post down the line. Go there.